Kings 95, Wizards 94: Sacramento defends the home court with comeback down the stretch

Kelley Cox - USA Today Sports

DeMarcus Cousins carried Sacramento down the stretch, and Tyreke Evans hit the game winning free throw with 10 seconds left to complete a double-digit comeback. John Wall's floater at the buzzer came short.

The Sacramento Kings closed out their homestand in exciting fashion, coming back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to win 95-94. DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and John Salmons had 21 points each, and they all had big moments down the stretch. Washington was led by rookie Bradley Beal, who scored 26 points and was the latest Kings opponent to shoot incredibly from three, going 6-7. John Wall had 14 points, 10 assists and 3 steals in his first game in Sacramento, but his floater at the buzzer to try to win the game fell short. He also missed two huge free throws in a row with 30 seconds left.

The Kings got behind by as much as 11 points in the 2nd quarter and then spent the rest of the game clawing their way back. In the 4th quarter though, they rode the back of Cousins. Cousins scored 9 of his points in the 4th quarter and managed to stay in despite playing with 5 fouls for a large portion of it. With the Kings down 91-86 with 2:38 left, Cousins scored 5 straight points by attacking the basket and on the next possession, drew attention and kicked out to John Salmons in the corner for a three to tie it at 94-94. In addition to his 21 points, he finished with 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

Washington managed to steal the ball from Cousins on his next trip and John Wall had the opportunity to make it a two point game with 30 seconds left after Jimmer Fredette was charged with a blocking foul in transition. Wall, a career 77.9% free throw shooter, missed two straight, and I can't help but wonder if the good ol' sixth man, which was cheering their butts off, had anything to do with it.

After the timeout, Sacramento essentially drew up an isolation play for Tyreke Evans, with a high screen from DeMarcus Cousins. Evans managed to get into the lane where he was tripped by Nene Hilario on his shot attempt. Evans made the first free throw but badly botched the second, so much so that Grant and Jerry were speculating on whether he was trying to miss it on purpose (UPDATE: After the game, Evans said it was not intentional, the ball just slipped out of his hands). Whatever the case, the Wizards got the ball with about 10 seconds left and a chance to win the game.

The Wizards went to Bradley Beal, who has been extremely clutch for them in recent weeks, but Chuck Hayes came out and played some phenomenal defense on him, and Beal's shot was too strong. The shot hit the back rim and sailed back over the outstretched arms of both Cousins and Nene and went back to John Wall, who didn't have much time to do anything and had to throw up a desperation floater at the buzzer. The shot was well short, and the Kings came away with the win.

Other Notes:

  • Tyreke Evans had a near triple-double to go with his 21 points, with 8 rebounds and 8 assists, as well as three steals. He also hit another three pointer, bringing his season percentage to 35.2% (on 34 attempts).
  • Jimmer Fredette was Sacramento's best Point Guard tonight, scoring 12 points in 21 minutes. He's also been playing better defense lately (to my eyes).
  • Keith Smart seems to be tightening his rotations a lot lately. Chuck Hayes and Jimmer were the only bench players to play double digit minutes, with Brooks and Thornton being the next highest with 8 minutes each.
  • Bradley Beal had a rough start to the season but has been coming along nicely. I came away very impressed with him. Along with Wall, the Wizards have a great backcourt to build around for the future.

For the opposing perspective, visit Bullets Forever

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